The people on the front line of Venezuela’s struggle for food

Collecting CLAP food supplies in Venezuela
Support us and go ad-free

The Canary is currently in Venezuela. This is the latest in our series of on-the-ground articles.


While we regularly see images of Venezuelans searching through garbage in the corporate media, we rarely see coverage of the people distributing vital food packages to millions across the country. The Canary spoke with one of Venezuela’s Local Provisioning and Production Committees (CLAPs), that are helping to supply government-subsidised food to over half the population.


Yoraima Youine is a local organiser in the La Brisa district of Caracas, Venezuela’s capital city. The Canary asked Youine about how the CLAP system works:

Each CLAP has its own geographic region – this specific CLAP’s name is Rosario de los Pirineos. We’re currently feeding 333 separate families, but we’re just one of hundreds of CLAPs across Caracas. Various people from across the community – not just from one particular social organisation – organise the distribution. Here, for instance, we have an organisatory body of 15 people. Government workers bring the food here, and volunteers distribute it based on local censuses.

With the economic situation here, the CLAP allows Venezuelans to access basic, affordable food, while not having to worry about currency fluctuations and speculation.

Organisers, CLAP.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

There’s a lot of coverage of a ‘food crisis’ in Venezuela. The Canary asked if CLAPs are a direct response to this, or part a solution to wider issues of food insecurity?

No, there’s no food crisis. Here you can get the food – the problem is the price. That’s why the CLAPs exist: every Venezuelan has a constitutional right to food. People in regions that don’t yet receive CLAP, moreover, can receive it through their local institutions.

Many Venezuelans have also spoken about ‘bachaqueros‘: people who have power over the country’s food supply, and abuse it by hoarding key foodstuffs to inflate prices.

The boxes seemed fairly large. Youine spoke about how many people they feed, for how long, and with what:

Well, a ‘family’ is defined as up to 6 people within a given household. They can collect a box once every 15 days. Each box has 19 different food items and costs around 500 Bolívars [roughly US$0.20].

The Canary saw the contents of the boxes, which include spaghetti, beans, lentils, and corn flour (essential for making arepas, a staple across much of Latin America). A separate food package supplies perishable protein sources such as chicken and beef. Residents added that, in December, boxes came with extra protein and small games for Venezuelan children.

CLAP foodstuff.

Sense of community

There’s no lack of a sense of community around Caracas, and food collection day was no different. Residents shared numbers and planned weekend activities. “Everything moves in conjunction”, said Julio Palacios, a local drum teacher planning a ‘rumba’ (dance) on Saturday evening.

The organisation, moreover, doesn’t stop at the point of delivery of CLAPs. The Canary joined some volunteers conducting the census for food distribution through some of the capital’s high rising apartment blocks.

Census, Caracas

The scale of Venezuela’s food distribution project is absolutely immense, and altogether more impressive given its massive volunteer base. If not for the CLAPs, the type of ‘humanitarian crisis’ narrative the corporate media promotes so enthusiastically might well be reality.

Venezuela’s economy is ‘screaming‘, and the noose around its neck is tightening. As imperial powers strip the country of more funds and resources, the Venezuelan government’s ability to subsidise food programmes will fall. What seems unconquerable, however, is the energy and solidarity of the country’s popular classes to ride this storm out together.

Featured image via John McEvoy

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us
  • Show Comments
    1. The truth in Venezuela is that the country is suffering due to the evil US/israel orchestrated Sanctions on the people of Venezuela and the Freezing of oil revenues by banks in the US and Britain that is freezing Gold bars that belong to the people of Venezuela that could be used to buy Medical and food items.

      The United Nation needs to stop these war crimes of SANCTIONS as they kill people by their use. The US/israel must be SANCTIONED for their COUP attempts that are only there for two reasons that they themselves indicated, ONE being they will not accept a Socialist Govt. in their Sphere of the Americas , the Second one and I believe the true reason for the COUP is the take over of the world’s biggest oil reserve that the US/israel wants dearly.

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.